Monday, December 28, 2009

Dominica - Natural Beauty

Dominica is nicknamed the “Nature Isle of the Caribbean” because of its unspoiled natural environment. The island nation, in the Caribbean Sea, has mountainous rainforests, national parks, the world’s second largest boiling lake and many rare plant, animal and bird species. It could be a great tourist destination, except hordes of tourists would spoil the island’s natural beauty. Maybe it’s a good thing that there are no direct international flights and to travel there requires some island hopping.

Dominica’s cuisine is rooted in Creole techniques. Creole food is influenced by all the countries on the American slave route – West Africa, Caribbean, Eastern coast of South America and Louisiana. I chose to make Callaloo soup, a Creole food, and popular with the Dominicans. The national dish is Mountain Chicken and, no, it’s not chicken but frog legs and from a special kind of frog found on the island.

The soup was delicious. It was perfect for a cold winter day, or sitting on a beach in the Dominica knowing that it’s one of the few island nations in the Caribbean not swarming with tourists.

Callaloo Soup

1 lb Callaloo leaves, Chinese spinach or Swiss chard, chopped
1 celery stalk with leaves, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
2 med. Onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp thyme
1 sweet pepper, chopped
1/2 lb okra, sliced
1/4 tsp ground cloves
4 cups chicken or vegetable stocl
1 cup coconut milk, unsweetened
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp hot pepper sauce

Put chopped greens, celery stalk, green onions, garlic, thyme, sweet pepper, okra and cloves into a pot. Add stock and coconut milk and simmer until the vegetables are soft, about 30 minutes. Puree soup. Add salt and pepper and pepper sauce. Serve hot.

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